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Gorgonops

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  1. Gorgonops

    Skate finds a iigs

    ... and, I guess to be clear, what was special about the MAX-12 (and some later monitors like it) was that it did monochrome CGA via the 9-pin RGBI port, IE, it took the digital input and rendered it into shades of gray in hardware. The "standard" way to have CGA in monochrome was via a composite cable (at least in the early days, later third-party CGA cards often lacked composite ports) and that produces a far messier display. (Almost unreadable unless you use "mode bw80" to turn off the colorburst signal, which otherwise renders as a mess of extraneous dots.)
  2. Gorgonops

    Skate finds a iigs

    My favorite ever monochrome monitor was a green NEC-branded composite-input unit. (Looked a lot like the contemporary Amdek ones.) It had a built-in amplifier and speaker which made it particularly handy to use with the TRS-80 Model I (I made a cable with phono-plug jack on it to connect it to the cassette cable, which was the standard method of getting sound from games with a Trash 80), and I also, just for laughs, had it connected to an old VCR and running as a television for a while. It had a *sloooooow* phosphor tube which left satisfying "action blurs" when playing video games. (And could have some trippy side effects when watching TV.) Personally, having had both, I feel like Green > Amber. In particular if you're talking about MDA with its sloooow 50mhz refresh the longer persistence your phosphor the better. The MAX-12 was fine for CGA at 60hz, but I tried it on a Hercules card for a while and it gave me a headache.
  3. Gorgonops

    Skate finds a iigs

    Seeing photos of a IIgs connected to the original monitor or sufficiently blurry TV sets (via SCART cables) it's kind of shocking how much better its desktop looks than it does on a monitor sharp enough to resolve the pinstripes. (Or in an emulator, for that matter.) It's "blurry" but it's not a stripey eye-killer. (It's funny, I don't think I ever actually saw a IIgs running GS/OS in person before getting one myself. The IIgs came out right about the time I graduated from middle school, and that was the highest grade level that had Apple ][s; high school was 100% IBM compatibles.) What really kind of gets me about this is I'd swear that if you displayed a similar pinstripe pattern like that on an IBM PC with a CGA monitor it wouldn't "blend" anywhere near as neatly as that. I can't swear to it, though, because most of my memories of CGA involve it running on monochrome monitors. (Our first PC had a Princeton Graphics MAX-12, like this: https://picclick.com/Vintage-Princeton-Graphics-Systems-Ibm-Computer-Monochrome-Pc-322438777633.html Which was an interesting dual-mode monitor that could handle both MDA/Hercules and CGA in shades of amber.) I did for a while in the early 90's have a ridiculously tricked out 5150 (made out of scrounged parts) that had an EGA card connected to a Kaypro CGA monitor and... yeah, again, I'd swear that pinstripes like that didn't 'blend' the way they seem to on the IIgs monitor. (IE, a series of blue and white bars would be clearly identifiable as such, to see it as a dithered color you'd have to take a few steps back and depend on your eyes to mix it.) Maybe I'm mis-remembering, or maybe Apple really did sort of "de-tune" their monitor to make dithers more effective.
  4. Gorgonops

    Skate finds a iigs

    The reason I suggested the Commodore monitor is because it does *both* digital RGBI and analog RGB. The CM-11 is *just* a digital CGA monitor. Therefore a 1084 can be a really handy thing to have lying around. (I have a 1084 and it's on my to-do list to make an adapter cable to use it with the IIgs. And of course it works with the Apple II+, the Amiga it came with, would work with a CGA PC if I ever pick one up again...) But, yes, if you just want an RGBI monitor the CM-11 is a fine choice. It's off-topic for this thread, but another option if you do have an old PC with CGA and you're desperate for a monitor you can connect it to those cheap scaler boards with an inexpensive adapter; said boards are designed for analog RGB but RGBI can be converted to that with a simple DAC. (The simplest version can be made out of just resistors, but this won't look quite right because IBM CGA monitors have special circuitry inside to convert what would be the "dark yellow" color you'd get out of the straight RGBI equation to a more aesthetically pleasing brown. Several people make adapters equipped with a chip that will do this. You can, oddly enough, most easily find sources on forums talking about Commodore 8-bits because the Commodore 128's RGB output is the same as CGA.) ... of course, if you bought the PC to play games on you're *actually* probably better off connecting it to a composite monitor if you have a composite-equipped CGA card, but that's a really off-topic subject.
  5. Gorgonops

    Skate finds a iigs

    Whoever thought that the best idea for the finder background was a series of one pixel wide pinstripes really deserves to be taken out behind the shed and shot. Sure, contemporary monitors (mostly) successfully blended it into something that looked vaguely like a solid color, but it really looks like hell on more modern displays. (And it also looks like absolute murder on a composite screen, but that's pretty much true of any output with that many pixels on composite.) The Moire patterns, no, the 'aliasing' effect, yes. The IIgs heavily relies on dithering to fake like it has more colors available in the 640-dot-wide screen resolution than it really does. It was actually in their interest to have a display that wasn't the sharpest tack in the box. (One of the reasons I'm not particularly pleased with how my IIgs looks when connected to the cheap arcade scaler board I have is the board *isn't* fooled by the pinstripes into displaying a solid light blue and instead renders them sharply on the VGA output; this looks bad and it's made worse by the slightly irregular line thickness you end up with because of the non-linear scaleup.) If you'd be happy with just having a digital RGB monitor I'd suggest looking at, I hate to say it, the 108x-series monitors that Commodore sold for the Amiga. (These monitors were actually rebranded... Magnavox? units, but the equivalent units with the original label are really hard to find.) Most of these monitors have both analog and digital RGB ports (along with composite) and thus can be made to work with most 80's home computers.
  6. Gorgonops

    Skate finds a iigs

    My card came in this Friday, but I haven't had a chance to give it a whirl yet. I hope it is indeed "legit". Particularly want to poke around with this on it: http://www.whatisthe2gs.apple2.org.za/time-out-for-some-8-bit-fun-iigs-style/
  7. Gorgonops

    Dove MacSnap restoration - broken pin

    The right way to do it would be to buy some new male machine-pin header strips, desolder the old strip, and replace the whole row. (They're a standard thing and not too hard to find, here's a link: http://www.king-cart.com/phoenixent/product_name=HWS16333/ Note I don't recommend this vendor in particular, I picked the hit from the first page of Google image searches that matched what you have there most closely.) The downside is, I'm guessing, that this would be a pain in the neck (It looks like there are ROM sockets preventing you from getting a soldering iron to the far side of the board?) *and* that if you buy a random set of header strips today there's a good chance the insulator block and pins will be a different height than the ones that are on there. If they were a little shorter it probably wouldn't be a big deal as long as the pins are long enough, I guess.) The other alternative would be to try to desolder *just* the base of the pin you broke off, try to extract it from the plastic holder, and solder in another pin assembly. That would be *really* hard to pull off; getting *all* the solder cleanly off the one pin so you can manhandle pulling it out of the plastic thing like an angry molar *without* damaging the socket via on the board would be... annoying. Probably in the end more annoying than doing the whole strip, *unless* it let you get away with not, say, having to desolder the ROM sockets on the other side. Edit: Third bad idea I have would be to try drilling out the base of bad pin enough to solder a new pin stolen from a new header strip (or even just a chunk of lead from a discrete component, like a resistor.) If you have a drill press, tiny diamond bits, and nerves of steel it could be worth a shot.
  8. Gorgonops

    LaCie MO 230 drive for PB 190 or 5300

    I guess I forgot to ask, have you tried one of those cheap-tastic Gonbes arcade scalers, like this? https://www.paradisearcadeshop.com/home/electrical/video-converters-and-tools/gonbes-video-converters/23_cga-vga-hd-video-converter Full disclosure, I use one with a IIgs and it's pretty lousy for that, but I've heard they work better on Amigas. (Supposedly the IIgs has strange pixel clock or such some nonsense that makes it suck especially for the cheap scalers.)
  9. Gorgonops

    LaCie MO 230 drive for PB 190 or 5300

    Is it a European A1200 or something? Displaying on a TV is what the composite video port is for. Is it in black-and-white only? EU Amigas won't output NTSC-Compatible color. But on the flip side, because modern TVs generally use mostly "universal" guts, you will sometimes find that a TV in the US will be able to lock onto a PAL video signal. (But often in black and white because the US TV *will* be lacking a PAL color decoder.)
  10. Gorgonops

    LaCie MO 230 drive for PB 190 or 5300

    It's a bummer how few monitors do 15khz RGB. (It's especially annoying when you have a monitor that actually has a composite video input on it to handle TV input but won't sync 15khz on the RGB port.)
  11. Gorgonops

    LaCie MO 230 drive for PB 190 or 5300

    Of course, if you look through the period magazines the prices today are still less than things sold for back in the day. To take an over-the-top example the (currently out of stock, granted) Vampire 500V2 accelerator which effectively includes a CPU, video card, *and* mass storage controller costs about $400 US. In October 1993, which was a year after the 1200 came out, $400 *would* buy you a closeout 68030 CPU accelerator and mass storage for your Amiga 500, but according to the ol' inflation calculator that's around $700 in today's money. Things get far worse if you look through the prices in, say, a 1989 Amiga magazine; at that time the minimum cost of entry for just a hard disk+controller was around $600, and a feeble little 68020 accelerator was around $250. (That's around $1,200 and $500 respectively in today's money.) Realistically speaking does a Vampire 500V2 offer less "utility" than 2/3rds of an Amiga 500 CPU/hard disk upgrade did back in 1993? I dunno, arguably?, since you could still be using an Amiga 500 as your only computer at that point (was getting pretty awkward, though...) while obviously an Amiga 500+Vampire today is a "toy". But, well, the vast majority of Amiga 500s spent most of their time playing video games and were also therefore "toys" so... yeah. Even Amiga people *technically* don't have much excuse to gripe. If they can't afford them today they *definitely* couldn't when they were new.
  12. Gorgonops

    LaCie MO 230 drive for PB 190 or 5300

    I found out from doing this that they make pretty fragile fobs, at least ones with surface mount chips. The solder joints tend not to last. (Granted the bare boards still look sort of cool.)
  13. Gorgonops

    LaCie MO 230 drive for PB 190 or 5300

    And, sadly enough, there are people that will gripe about that price because they remember using 1MB SIMMs for keychain fobs(*) back in the early 2000's because at the time they were utterly worthless. (* Something I actually did.)
  14. Gorgonops

    Boot a IIgs from a Floppy Emu?

    I definitely agree that it's pretty frustrating that the IIgs' firmware doesn't recognize SmartPort hard drives as being some other kind of "entity" than the 3.5" floppy drives and allow them to be booted. This seems like a fairly major oversight given that the rules for chaining devices actually forbid you from ever putting a SmartPort device in front of them. (IE, the rules for a chain are: "mac style" 3.5" floppy drives -> SmartPort devices -> 5 1/4" drives.) I guess Apple intended that IIgs owners that wanted a hard disk would do so via a slot and only intended SmartPort to be a solution for the IIc. I finally gave in and ordered a slotted flash drive from ReactiveMicro... a couple weeks ago. I can't comment on how well it works or doesn't yet because my order was just updated to claim it's been shipped *last night*.
  15. Gorgonops

    LaCie MO 230 drive for PB 190 or 5300

    Honestly it kind of seems like a tiny little molehill has been blown into Mount Everest regarding this Zip drive discussion. Trash, you are correct that, yes, for whatever reason the Zip drive was perceived by the (American, at least) market as being the right device at the right time and pretty indisputably won the "Superfloppy Sweepstakes" of the mid-1990's. (Thanks mostly to the increased use of graphics and fancy formatting in humdrum applications like word processor this was the era during which normal day-to-day file sizes for begin significantly outgrowing the 1.44MB floppy; it wasn't just people lugging publishing files to service bureaus who needed a solution for lugging around 5/10/20MB+ at a pop anymore.) Zip might not have been the technically best solution, but it beat LS-120 to market by nearly three years, MO was *perceived* as too "exotic" with too high of a cost-of-entry (the fact that MO usually needed a SCSI controller while a ZIP could just hang off your printer port was undoubtedly a factor, among others), and other competitors like SyQuest's EZ-135/EZ-Flyer often had even worse reliability problems than Zip. (SyQuest faceplanted all over the map, here, frankly. If they'd done a better job at marketing their 105MB 3.5" format drive introduced in 1993 and been willing to sell it at close to a loss like Iomega did with the Zip to popularize the format the Zip might have never gotten off the ground. Instead they came out with an incompatible "consumer" 135MB cartridge a year too late, splitting and confusing their own customer base... and then the disks started dropping like flies.) The sad fact about a free market is the "best" product doesn't always win. Zip was good enough, it filled a need, and did so reasonably competently until better solutions for the problem came along. But, per Cory's points, there are *far better* options for storage in the high-dozens-of-megabytes-to-low-gigabytes range now, mostly Flash-based, and many of them are adaptable to retro-computing use. Thrift stores might still be lousy with old-stock Zip disks (although, honestly, I kind of feel like that flood has mostly dried up.) but it's not like ultimately much better solutions like the SCSI2SD are expensive. (I mean, really, let's get real, a SCSI2SD doesn't cost much more than taking a family of four out to Denny's. I know we're all used to getting things for free, but if you remember at all what the computers we talk about on this forum cost when they were new it's positively cringeworthy to see how worked up people get over sub-three-figure price tags.) The best solution for carrying the music of your choice around with you in your car in 1967 looked like this: That doesn't mean it's the best option today even if your car also happens to be from 1967. Sure, 8-Track tapes worked well enough and certainly beat trying to run a phonograph player in your car (which was a thing some companies actually tried to push once), but they were never *that* reliable (I'm *just* old enough to remember trying to get snarled tape out of the 8-track deck in my mother's car, and it's something I had to do more than once.) and at this point the media is simply dying of old age. (TL;DR, if you ever find an 8-track player at a garage sale with a pile of tapes don't expect to play them without giving both the drive and the tapes some serious TLC involving replacing expired rubber, foam, and sticky tape components.) Older hard disks are already failing en-mass thanks to the same reasons, I have no doubt that age alone will eventually take down all the non-Click-o-Death'ed Zip cartridges left in circulation. (And unlike is the case with 8-track tape cartridges I kind of doubt that Zip drives and cartridges will be easily amenable to DIY fixes. The parts are just too tiny and fragile, even compared to floppy drives.) In short, if you have a particular nostalgia for Zip that's fine, keep playing with your pile of disks all you want. I keep insisting on using real 5 1/4" floppy disks with my retro computers because I have a few hundred of them that don't seem to have expired yet and I love the nostalgic sights and sounds. But I wouldn't pretend it's a good solution to recommend to anyone today.
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